The news that New Zealand will drop to alert level 2 later this week brought joy to Kiwis desperate for further freedoms, especially those involved in sport.

Professional leagues such as netball's ANZ Premiership and Super Rugby will return, with further details to be developed with Sport New Zealand and WorkSafe. Initially, they will happen without crowds but they can be broadcast.

New Zealand Rugby confirmed its revamped domestic competition involving the Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders – known as Super Rugby Aotearoa – will start on Saturday June 13.

This allows players four weeks to adequately prepare with contact training.


The competition will see the five Super Rugby clubs playing each other home and away over 10 weeks, with two matches every weekend at 5.05pm on Saturdays and 3.05pm on Sundays.

Matches will be played in closed stadiums until the Government advises an approach to managing mass gatherings in controlled venues that will allow fans to return.

The schedule for the competition has also been announced.

Club and school sports leagues, on the other hand, are in for a raft of changes under level 2 protocols.

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As a result, it's expected to be some time before competitions resume. What the regulations mean for how each sport is run remains a point of discussion within most sporting bodies.

Sport New Zealand has advised that all sports clubs and facilities must practise sanitation measures and record contact tracing details.

Measures should be taken to minimise the sharing of equipment and balls. For activities where equipment must be shared, such as netball, organisers must ensure all players wash and dry their hands before and afterwards, and where possible clean and disinfect the equipment before and after use.


Auckland Netball CEO Dianne Lasenby admits she didn't expect the sport to be allowed to return under alert level 2, revealing a staggered start within leagues will now most likely be the case.

Netball leagues will make a staggered return. Photo / Photosport
Netball leagues will make a staggered return. Photo / Photosport

"There's quite a bit for us to understand and plan for," Lasenby told the Herald. "For us it's going back, working with the schools about how we can do that in a safe environment and have the confidence of the parents before we start.

"We'll likely get club under way first and then secondary school premiers, stagger it right out, so for some it might mean not starting until after the July school holidays."

Lasenby said no temporary rule changes would be made to distance players from one another on the court.

Netball New Zealand will provide a set of guidelines for clubs and schools to follow. This will include a checklist for training sessions.

Basketball New Zealand's Secondary Schools Premierships and Championships remain scheduled, as is, later this year, but adjustments to the qualification processes, formats and attendance numbers is likely.

In a Covid-19 alert level 2 update Q&A document produced collectively by the Auckland Football Association and Northern Football Association for local clubs, it states it could take up to five weeks for maintenance work to be completed on some sports fields before access can be granted.

Football clubs will have to wait for council clearance to return to the field. Photo / Photosport
Football clubs will have to wait for council clearance to return to the field. Photo / Photosport

Inter-club friendlies are permitted as part of pre-season preparation on the basis that contact tracing/health & safety compliance is assured, there is council availability of fields and the AFF-NFF competitions structure safeguarding return to play timelines for the given levels of competition play is set.

Hockey facilities will be open to the community again under level 2, but School Sports New Zealand won't make a decision on the commencement of Winter Tournament Week until early next month.

Although every sport will require different regulations, the general rules apply: Facilities and events must keep a contact register of contact details for everyone who visits, measures should be taken to minimise the sharing of equipment and anyone who is unwell must stay at home.